- What lessons can you learn from previous crises?
- How smart is it to play "sure"?
Tried-and-tested practices that did their job excellently for years, suddenly no longer offer any guarantee that your business will continue to be successful. In the blink of an eye, the market looks completely different and you have no choice but to reinvent your company. Not every company will succeed to do so, not every company is agile enough to change course.
The Dutch football icon Johan Cruijff once said: "Every disadvantage has its advantage." During and after a crisis, new opportunities unfold for companies that want to see them. Companies that are agile and dare to transform can emerge from a crisis stronger than before.
The corona crisis is of a magnitude seldom seen, and is expected to cut deeper than the dotcom-crisis at the turn of the century or the banking crisis of 2008-2009. The exact impact is still a big unknown, yet we can learn lessons from previous crises. Lessons that can be very helpful for your company.
We have listed a number of lessons and tips:
- Get in touch with your customers even more and listen to their 'needs'. Customer-oriented companies will be the winners of this crisis. Habits have radically changed in a few months, or even a few weeks. Listen to your customers and respond to their new needs and wishes.
- Focus mainly on those customer groups where you can realize value-building, where you can realize the most added value.
- Check your 'strategic' plan regularly throughout the year. The corona virus has struck like a lightning – fast and unexpectedly – and has taught companies that long-term plans are still a necessity, but they also need constant updates. The world is evolving faster than ever before and is taking unexpected turns.
- Focus more than ever on ‘real-time’ reporting. This allows you to make quick adjustments. If you wait for a year, or even for a quarter, to review pertinent data, you may be too late to adjust chronic issues.
- Use your company data even more intensively and make time to compare different scenarios.
- Strengthen your OPEX focus within the organization. In times of crisis, you need all the energy you can muster. Make use of the burning platform to make some real changes. You will reap the benefits of doing so afterwards.
- Cash is King. Companies that survive crises, are companies with sufficient reserves and sufficient cash. In many companies this comes down to optimizing purchasing and inventory management, in addition to a focus on accounts receivable and accounts payable.
- Dare to rethink your business model and outline your future agility to make huge improvements.
- A crisis comes with a lot of uncertainty. You can avoid this by involving your people and investing in your teams. A crisis is an ordeal, but teams that guide your company through the storm will be stronger than ever before. Don't exclude your people, on the contrary: include them more than ever.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate.
A disruptive change of an organization has impact on three levels: people, systems and processes. These are three equivalent components you have to deal with simultaneously. It is not enough to put your organization ‘on a temporary diet’ during a crisis. The companies that fully commemorate themselves, will emerge from this crisis stronger than before and reap the benefits in the long term. Sure, it takes a lot of courage and a lot of leadership. When times are tough, it's tempting to stick to well-known recipes. Although a crisis can be an excellent time to transform.
The Fear of change is always bigger than the change itself. It’s a wisdom most people discover once the storm has passed. Dare to show leadership, rise to the occasion and transform your business.